Ficus/ Fig Bonsai

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Bonsai Species Guides

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ficus fig bonsai

Ficus bonsai (species unknown) photographed in the Philippines


Though tolerant of poor light levels and dry air, try to find as bright a position as possible indoors on a sunny window-sill (Ficus will tolerate full sun), Ficus should be kept in position where temperatures do not fall below 15°C. Figs will not die from lower temperatures but continual exposure to temperatures below this level will cause a gradual deterioration in health. Do not position where the tree will be exposed to cold draughts as this can cause leaf-drop through stress. Encourage higher humidity levels with the use of a gravel tray and never place above radiators which dramatically dry the surrounding air. Temperature fluctuations should be kept to a minimum.
During the summer when night temperatures remain above around 12°C, try to place Figs outside where there is increased light, better humidity and warm air circulation to increase health and vigour levels. Most figs grow best in temperatures between 15°C and 30°C. Temperatures above or below this will slow growth; continual exposure will eventually lead to ill-health.

FEEDING Feed only when showing active growth; do not feed during the winter if growth stops or if the plant is showing signs of ill-health. Feed with high-nitrogen or a balanced fertiliser fortnightly.

REPOTTING Repot in Spring every two years using basic soil mix.

PRUNING Hard prune in Spring ideally though most figs will tolerate this year round, trim new growth back to shape during the growing season. Figs bleed a milky, white sap (latex) when pruned and this can be used to seal wounds by dabbing with paper or a cloth. When pruning back smaller branches, leave a short stub which will dry out over the following days, removal of this dry stub is easy and leaves a far smaller scar in the bark.

PROPAGATION Figs are very easily propagated from cuttings at any time of the year and from air-layerings.

PESTS AND DISEASES Scale insects and mites can be a problem. It should be noted that Figs will not tolerate insecticides containing Malathion. Leaf loss is nearly always due to stress caused by overwatering or incorrect placement though if conditions are improved, Figs are able to leaf out within 3-6 weeks.

STYLING All forms except Literati in all sizes.

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